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Dan Ward's F.I.R.E.

Dan Ward’s F.I.R.E.

I got myself an uncorrected proof of F.I.R.E. for Xmas!  This was the first book proposal I ever assisted with in publishing: a Harper biz book to be pubbed in spring 2014.  F.I.R.E.: How Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant Methods Ignite Innovation was penned by the brilliant military technologist Dan Ward.  It’s simply written, even poetic with its minimalistic prose.  F.I.R.E. blends common sense with clear insights arising from Ward’s experience developing, designing, testing and fielding military systems.  I’m only a quarter of the way through and already it’s teaching me to solve work conundrums—or surmount any life obstacle—quickly, creatively and with…

Martin Cruz Smith - Rose

I’ve just discovered Martin Cruz Smith, whose novel Rose (1996) was recommended by a friend. Thank God. Because I never would have read it without prodding, without the book being placed forcefully into my hands accompanied by an enormous grin and the phrase, “I can’t believe you haven’t read any Martin Cruz Smith!” Rose is an historically rich, class-conscious, sensorially stunning, action-packed novel filled with colorful characters, unexpected twists and simply gorgeous language. In a word: Dickensian. The hell of 19th century Wigan, a coal town in Lancashire, England (the same town of Orwell’s sociological piece), is illuminated in the…

Elise Capron, Sandy Dijkstra, Roz Foster and Chitra Divakaruni

I just found this fun photo online from a reading of that gorgeous novel Oleander Girl in March at Warwick’s, La Jolla! That’s me on the right with Sandy Dijkstra, Elise Capron and Chitra Divakaruni on the evening we were all lucky to hang with Chitra’s San Diegan readers. Had dinner beforehand with these lovely ladies and Warwick’s Book Buyer Adrian Newell, whose insights into Amazon and big data blew my mind.  A little later at the bookstore, I talked with the delightful Warwick’s Events & Community Relations guru, Julie Slavinsky, who I decided I must have known in another life. Or…

LenormandRevolutionBoxCoverForWeb

  The third edition of the Lenormand Revolution deck is now available!  Click here to order! And here’s a preview of the new box design featuring Eugène Delacroix’s painting Liberty Leading the People—a hint at one of the surprises in the latest edition.  The new deck, at 2.5” x 3.5” is larger than previous editions, a change many of you asked for.  A fantastic improvement! For those of you interested in the history behind our bold cover, read on! Liberty Leading the People or La Liberté guidant le peuple was painted by Eugène Delacroix in 1830 and celebrates the French…

leSoleil

Here’s a preview of Le Soleil or the Sun card from The Lenormand Revolution deck (La Révolution Lenormand), for which I’ve done the art in co-creation with the illustrious Carrie Paris. If you’re new to the Lenormand, it’s a card divination system popularly believed to have been designed by the French cartomancienne Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772–1843), who was counsellor to Joséphine de Beauharnais, Empress of France (the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte).  She also claimed to have advised several leaders of the French Revolution, including Robespierre and Marat. Lenormand historians assert that the 36-card Lenormand deck, known as le petit jeu de Lenormand was, in fact, created…

somethingsAfoot

One afternoon, you’re shopping for furniture when you happen upon a half-insane, poverty-stricken, poetess/carpenter in her rickety Victorian house with oddly picturesque water-damaged drywall.  The woman who lives here appears to have fashioned a delightful little chair, almost as if by mistake.  Madly, she calls it her “Something’s Afoot Chair” and wiggles her eyebrows at you as she presents it, unadorned, in a glare of natural light.  You’re captivated.  It’s perfectly bespoke, a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture with humor!  You must have it! A wooden hanger, complete with its metal hook, forms the top brace of a sloppily whitewashed chair-back.  A wooden…

obamaStore

Listen, I’m voting again for President Obama mostly because 1) reproductive rights are cool and 2) I never thought he was the second coming in the first place.  But, have you seen the Obama Store?  There’s something deeply wrong with a nation when its president attempts to sell branded consumer loot through an online catalog as a part of his fund-raising and messaging strategy. Mouse over “Collections” to choose consumer products designed expressly for you!  What target market do you fall into? Women for Obama, African Americans for Obama, Latinos/Hispanics for Obama, AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) for Obama,…

whiteRabbitRozFoster

(image by Roz Foster) It’s been almost two weeks since I came back from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference in LA, where I arrived with the first draft of a novel for young adults (and up), along with an appetite for learning about the industry.  I came away with fantastic feedback on my work from the highly intelligent, market-savvy and craft-wise Josh Adams (Adams Literary).  I also came away with quite the download on the effect the digital revolution has been having on publishing in general. Every keynote and session I attended was packed with inspiration…